October as most of you know is the season of literature festivals and this year is no exception, even if most of them are a bit different. Sometimes that’s an advantage: I’ve looked in on a couple of live-streamed events from Cheltenham which I most probably wouldn’t have attended in normal circumstances. Staying in is the new going out.
On the other hand, more screen time isn’t what most of us would choose right now so it pays to think carefully about what appeals and if you can get there (some events are live-streamed only, others are prerecorded to watch any time).
Here are a few programmes from this neck of the woods that I’m involved in in one way or another and for better or worse they’re all online – this means you don’t have to be in the west country to see/hear any of these west country writers. And the best news is that they are totally free!
Bristol Literature Festival is now under way with a reduced programme but still a great mix of writing and events. Full programme here.
First up for me on Saturday 24th October at 7 pm is Hidden Gems from Novel Research in which Kerry Postle,Heather Child, Jean Burnett and me share the three most amazing things we found out while researching our books. Delve into the secrets of famous Italian artists, the birth of photography, the Spanish Civil War and some astonishing quantum physics.
It’s free but you must register here to join the Zoom session.
Then on Sunday 25th, also 7 pm it’s the turn of Just Write Bristol’s regular Story Sunday, sadly not at our usual home of Southbank Club but accessible from wherever you happen to be. We have a great line-up of local writers with shorter-than-usual short stories (not too long on that screen!) ranging from topical satire through the darkly comic to out and out romantic. Join Mark Rutterford, Jonathan Evans, John Holland, Suzanne Mcconaghy, Joy Charlton and our own Kerry and Gail for some real live entertainment. Register here to book your seat.
AND FINALLY – or who knows, maybe not! Stroud Book Festival has run a sucessful crowd-funding campaign so that their events can also be free. My first port of call will be Stroud Short Stories on Sunday November 8th from 7.30 . I helped make the selection for this event back in March – yes, pre-lockdown days and I’m looking forward tremendously to hearing them read ‘live’ – in fact on Youtube.
The theme is DISRUPTION (who knew!) and the brilliant stories selected are by Robin Booth, Stephen Connolly, Hannah Glickstein, Claire Harrison, Emma Kernahan, Geoff Mead, Simon Piney, Mark Rutterford, Sharon Webster and Steve Wheeler. As if it were a live event, organiser John Holland has placed the stories in the order he thinks works best, but of course on YouTube you can pick and choose as you wish. No registration needed. Join the live event here: http://stroudshortstories.blogspot.com/
Hoping very much to see some of you at these events.